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Last Chance Mica Mine, Coggan Bore, Ambalindum Station, Harts Range (Harts Ranges; Hartz Range; Hartz Ranges), Central Desert Region, Northern Territory, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 23° 14' 45'' South , 135° 19' 48'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -23.2461111111, 135.33


Situated NW of Indiana Station in southeast section of range.

Abandoned mica mine.

The mine is part of the Ambalindum Station, although the Indiana pastoral station homestead is about 15 kilometres south-east of the mine, near the western border of the Indiana Station.

History for the mine was only found from 1943, and into the mid 1950's. It appears to have always been the preserve of Italian miner syndicates during this period.

Information was found on mica production from 1944 to 1950: 1944 905 lbs, 1945 6465 lbs, 1946 7866 lbs, 1947 2618 lbs, 1948 3409 lbs, 1949 9746 lbs, and 18 months until December 1950 11547 lbs. In the early 1950's, the Last Chance was considered the largest working mica mine in the eastern Harts Range area.

Mica was accessed from one side of the pegmatite via a quarry 30 feet deep and long, and 5-10 feet wide. The opposite side of the pegmatite was
accessed by a 50 foot adit from the quarry to a small mica shoot.

Mainly names were found of owners and workers at the mine from 1948 until the mid 1950's. The mine was owned by Jack Crespan and Eugenio (Lou or Gigetto) Vendramini. They are also noted at other mines in the Harts Range area. Crespan was heavily involved with the Harts Range Mica Miner's Association.

Attilio Piovesan worked at the mine, having arrived in Australia in 1937,
and sponsored Augusto Mattiazzo out from Italy to work at Last Chance. Armida followed, and the two were married in Melbourne in 1952, before again heading back to the mine. Danny in 1954, and Adelina in 1956 were born while the couple were at Last Chance. Also working at the mine were Bob Garnerotto, Leandro Bortoletto, and two indigenous workers who went by the names of Harry and Annie. Jack was married to a Maria, with a daughter called Anna, and son Sergio, while Eugenio was married to Elsa, with sons Leo, Roy and Danny. All the children living at the mine were young.

The Italian Historical Society has several photographs of these people pictured at the mine. Mica was carted to Alice Springs by camel. Living conditions were very primitive. Elsa however stated it was the best years of her life, with the companionship of the Italian miner community far outweighing the heat, snakes, and isolation. The mine's days were numbered, as were all in the Harts Range district, with plastic taking over what was once used with mica. The last mine in the district closed in 1960.

Samarskite was found in the area in the late 1940's, described as looking like a heavy black piece of broken glass. Jack Crespan claimed the Last Chance was the first mine in the Harts Range area to uncover the mineral, although a BMR study in 1956 failed to find any at Last Chance. Samarskite however was found at Lone Pine mine 2.5 miles north north-west of Last Chance.

Muscovite, biotite, milky quartz, and perthitic feldspar can be found on the dumps. Beryl crystals have also been reported. Garnet crystals are found about 200 metres south south-west of the mine. Also 700 metres east south-east is green diopside crystals up to 10 mms by 25 mms in marble. This location is at the northern side of a ridge on the other side of the creek. Another diopside location is 200 metres south of the above location, on the eastern side of the ridge. More mica diggings can be found about one kilometre north and north-west of the diopside-garnet localities.

Access is the same as that written under the Coggan Bore Mindat sub-heading. Head along a track 300 metres south of the bore, crossing a creek. It is reported the mine can be seen from here, 3.5 kilometres away on the north
side of a hill, south south-west of the bore. While a track once ran directly to the mine, it is long overgrown, and walking is the probably the only option.




An abandoned mica mine.
Site visited by Z.B.

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5 valid minerals.

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.

References

Kruttschnitt, J., Moss, F.A., Carter, S., Haney, T. (1951) Report on the Harts Range Mica Field, Mount Isa Mines Ltd, April 1951.

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1949) Uranium Find at Harts Range. Mineral Described, 03/06/1949.

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1948) Harts Range District Notes, 04/06/1948.

Scott, R. (1999) Essay One The Red Heart. Random House.

Daly, J., Dyson, D.F. (1956) Geophysical Investigations for Radioactivity in the Harts Range Area, Northern Territory, Department of National development/Bureau of Mineral Resources Geology and Geophysics, Commonwealth of Australia, Report No.32.

Thompson, D. (ed) (1986) A Guide to Fossicking in the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Geological Survey, Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy, 2nd ed., 73p.



Joklik, G. F. (1955) The geology and mica-fields of the Harts Range, central Australia. Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology amd Geophysics, Australia, Bulletin 26.

Daly, J., Dyson, D.F. (1956) Geophysical Investigations for Radioactivity in the Harts Range Area, Northern Territory, Department of National development/Bureau of Mineral Resources Geology and Geophysics, Commonwealth of Australia, Report No.32.

Shaw, R.D. & Freeman, M.J. (1985) Illogwa Creek, Northern Territory (Second Edition) 1:250 000 geological series, explanatory notes, SF/53-15. Department of Resources & Energy, Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics.

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